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Over 500 arrested in India since Kashmir communications blackout

MORE than 500 people have been arrested by Indian security forces since the communications blackout began in Kashmir, a state-run radio station revealed today.

People remained holed up in their homes for a fourth day in the divided region as the news was released.

All India Radio reported cross-border firing by Indian and Pakistani troops.

India’s government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and downgraded the region from statehood to territory this week.

Authorities in Kargil district of the Leh region, which used to be part of Jammu and Kashmir state, banned the assembly of more than five people at one place in an effort to prevent protests against the division of Kashmir.

Activists have been organising ambulance services to hospitals in Srinagar, the main city in India’s portion of Kashmir, as local residents have been unable to use phones to ask for medical help.

One patient told the New Delhi Television it was “like hell.”

Pakistan suspended a key train service with India today over the change in Kashmir’s special status by New Delhi, as tensions continued to rise.

The announcement was made as passengers were waiting to board a train to travel across the border.

Prime Minister Imran Khan told Pakistan’s National Security Committee on Wednesday that his government will use all diplomatic channels “to expose the brutal Indian racist regime” and human rights violations in Kashmir.

India responded by saying that “the intention behind these measures is obviously to present an alarming picture to the world of our bilateral ties.”

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal also said authorities were considering approaching the International Court of Justice for a case against India for downgrading Kashmir’s special status.

He condemned the communications blackout and security clampdown in Indian-controlled Kashmir, saying: “Kashmir has been converted into the world’s biggest jail.”

“They are taking such actions in a panic. India has touched something they don’t know how to get out of it.”

Despite reports of fire, Pakistan has ruled out a military option in response to India’s decision on Kashmir and says it is instead seeking a political and legal response.

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